Friday, January 21, 2011

Blessing the ties

I grew up in the Presbyterian Church, and one of the songs we used to sing regularly -- though I no longer remember what specific ritual it was tied to -- was "Blest be the Tie that Binds."

"Blest be the tie that binds
our hearts in Christian love.
The fellowship of kindred minds
is like to that above."

When I was wandering through my images this morning and came upon this one, that was the song that began playing in my head.  So even though I had planned to share with you Ed Bastian's definition of contemplation in his new book, Interspiritual Meditation (I guess that will just have to wait until tomorrow ) I see that there's something more important that takes precedence.

And that is, I think, the reason I picked up Ed's book in the first place -- which I did partly because I believe in his basic premise, which is that there is "a shared mystic heart beating in the center of the world's deepest spiritual traditions," and partly because I really value the power of shared meditation practices.  Even though we may be taking very different approaches to meditation, there is no denying the power of sitting in meditation with others who are also meditating -- whatever forms the various meditations may take.

I was speaking with someone recently about how much I miss attending church -- and specifically how much I miss Communion, which, for me as a Christian, has always been a very powerful experience.  What compensates me -- at least somewhat -- for that loss is my now bi-weekly opportunity to meditate in the presence of others who are also meditating.  The feeling of presence in that shared space is very moving, and the sense of being tied -- in however mysterious a fashion -- to those other lives for that brief time is really precious to me; it keeps me from getting too caught up in my own "stuff;" keeps me connected to the world around me.

Because it seems to me that meditation is really all about strengthening those connections: connections to the Divine, within and without, and connections to the Other, the rest of creation, and all that is divine within that.  And if meditation is a way of creating and nurturing that sense of being tied -- to reality, to others, to earth, to humanity, to all of creation, and to God -- well, what could say it better?  Blest be the tie that binds.


Louise Gallagher said...

Love this post -- and I too crave my weekly group meditation practice. it sustains me and strengthens me and ties me to community and the Divine.

Blest be the tie that binds, indeed.

Kimberly Mason said...

But why are you having to miss going to church? Have I missed the explanation in an earlier post? :(